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[990b] [1] As for those who posit the Forms as causes,1 in the first place in their attempt to find the causes of things in our sensible world, they introduced an equal number of other entities—as though a man who wishes to count things should suppose that it would be impossible when they are few, and should attempt to count them when he has added to them. For the Forms are as many as, or not fewer than, the things in search of whose causes these thinkers were led to the Forms; because corresponding to each thing there is a synonymous entity apart from the substances (and in the case of non-substantial things there is a One over the Many2), both in our everyday world and in the realm of eternal entities.3

Again, not one of the arguments by which we4 try to prove that the Forms exist demonstrates our point: from some of them no necessary conclusion follows, and from others it follows that there are Forms of things of which we hold that there are no Forms.For according to the arguments from the sciences5 there will be Forms of all things of which there are sciences6; and according to the "One-over-Many" argument,7 of negations too; and according to the argument that "we have some conception of what has perished," of perishable things; because we have a mental picture of these things.8 Again, of Plato's more exact arguments some establish Ideas of relations,9 which we do not hold to form a separate genus;and others state the "Third Man."10 And in general the arguments for the Forms do away with things which are more important to us exponents of the Forms than the existence of the Ideas; [20] for they imply that it is not the Dyad that is primary, but Number11; and that the relative is prior to the absolute12; and all the other conclusions in respect of which certain persons, by following up the views held about the Ideas, have gone against the principles of the theory.

Again, according to the assumption by which we hold that the Ideas exist, there will be Forms not only of substances but of many other things (since the concept is one not only in the case of substances, but also in the case of all other things; and there are sciences not only of substances but of other things as well; and there are a thousand other similar consequences); but according to logical necessity, and from the views generally held about them, it follows that if the Forms are participated in, then there can only be Ideas of substances. For they are not participated in qua accidents; each Form can only be participated in in so far as it is not predicated of a subject.I mean, e.g., that if anything participates in "absolute Doubleness" it participates also in "eternal," but only accidentally; because it is an accident of Doubleness to be eternal.13Thus the Forms must be substance. But the same names denote substance in the sensible as in the Ideal world;

1 For a discussion of the Ideal theory and Aristotle's conception of it see Introduction; and with the whole contents of Aristot. Met. 9.1-15 cf. Aristot. Met. 13.4.6-5.

2 An Idea which represents their common denominator.

3 The heavenly bodies.

4 Aristotle is here speaking as a Platonist. Contrast the language of Aristot. Met. 13.4.7ff., and see Introduction.

5 Scientific knowledge must have a permanent object (cf. Aristot. Met. 1.4.2.

6 Including artificial products; cf. Aristot. Met. 1.15.

7 The fact that several particulars can have a common quality or nature implies a single Idea of which they all partake (Plat. Rep. 596a).

8 The theory always admitted Ideas of perishable things, e.g. "man." The objection here is that if the memory of dead men establishes the Idea of "man," the memory of a dead individual establishes an Idea of that (perishable) individual.

9 Plat. Phaedo 74a-77a, Plat. Rep. 479a-480a.

10 Several arguments bore this name. Here the reference is probably to the following: If X is a man because he resembles the Idea of Man, there must be a third "man" in whom the humanity of these two is united. Cf.Plat. Parm. 132a-133a.

11 The Indeterminate Dyad, being to Aristotle a glorified 2, falls under the Idea of Number, which is therefore prior to it.

12 This seems to be a development of the same objection. Number, which is relative, becomes prior to the supposedly self-subsistent Dyad.

13 Sensible double things are not eternal; therefore they do not, in the proper sense of "participation," participate in the Idea of Doubleness qua having the accidental attribute "eternal." Therefore Ideas, qua participated in, are not attributes but substances.

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